The long-awaited Toy Story 4 opened last week, grossing over $118 million in its opening weekend and drawing crowds of both children and adults to the theaters.
But not everyone is happy to see Woody on the big screen, and some critics are having a hard time with the latest installment to the Toy Story franchise.
The very first Toy Story came out in 1995 and was an instant classic, featuring big name actors voicing bright, colorful characters and a fun story that captured the innocence of childhood. All four movies are rated highly on Rotten Tomatoes, with Toy Story and Toy Story 2 receiving 100% and Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4 getting a 98%.
But several critics are lashing out at the film, saying that it is no long 1995 and the lack of diversity and variety in the cast and characters are unacceptable.
A study by UCL showed that both women and minority groups have been given an increased media presence of the last ten years, but you wouldn’t know it by watching Toy Story 4. The same cast, with the same young white toy owners, are all in the movie. No updates or changes at all.
Most who have issues with the film say it just feels dated. Instead of updating the toys and their owners to a 2019 setting, this movie could have easily been made in 1995 along with the first and no one would be surprised.
In the movie, the only attempt at a redeeming quality has been Bo-Peep. Advertisements have touted her as a feminist that can get a job done, but it’s not like she is looking up online classes, taking charge, or trying to better her life – we see Peep lift her skirt to reveal bloomers, and do acrobatic moves that we all expect from a doll.
This isn’t radical feminism, here, and it is clear that the movie hasn’t kept up with the times.
A few critics panning the move as not inclusive or racist isn’t going to stop this Pixar film from making money, but that isn’t the point. The point is that moving forward, the hope is that Disney will see these comments and adjust future movies accordingly.
Disney puts a ton of time and money in their movies, and we can hope going forward that they make better choices for casting and diversity.